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Thread: propane heater repair

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    eastern, ct
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    propane heater repair

    I've got an empire vented propane heater, Housewarmer series (HWDV181DV) in my shop for about 10 years. I typically have to clean out the pilot and insides before each winter, but this time i had to buy a new pilot. Now the pilot will light, but it's an orange flame and i get a lot of carbon build up on the electrode. The main burner produces a blue flame, so that seems to be working correctly. I believe my air intake is not a problem. So i'm thinking the main issue is perhaps too much propane flow to the pilot? I made sure to buy a LP pilot and not a natural gas. Any thoughts on what might be causing this? things to check? Or perhaps there is a way to reduce the gas flow at the valve? Below is a parts diagram pic of the gas valve, but i could take a photo if that helps.



    Also, how long do people see these units lasting? This is 11 years old at this point and the inside is getting rusty. I only use it about 3 months out of the year. I'm thinking of a mini-split eventually for heating and cooling, but don't want to spend the money right now.

  2. #2
    Have you checked the gas pressure? Step one is ensure supply pressure. I do not think pilot flames are adjustable. They feed offf the gas valve to the pilot and assuming initial supply pressure is correct the pilot gets its portion. you 2ill need a manometer to get the pressure reading. try disconnecting the pilot line from the gas valve complete including the pilot assembly and carefully blow it out. Once it is in your hands make sure the pilot is correct. The pilot orifice should have a number on one of the lands indicating its size. I use a pilot orifice drill kit for this, but unlikely you have one. If you are unable to get it right at this point it is time for a new gas valve. Surprised to hear of a rusty HX after only 10 yrs. Although you use it only 3 mo of the year, that rust never sleeps. Update your CO detectors. The plural is intentional. you can likely buy yourself some time with a new gas valve, but again, you need a manometer to set it up properly. I sold about 250,000 Rinnai DVís in the six New England States from Ď91-Ď11. They are pricey, but many of them are 25 yrs old. Start your research on the mini-splits. I represented Fujitsu in that territory too. Oh, and it is a gas appliance and not to be taken lightly. Check with your propane company and perhaps give Empire tech a call. They are good folks.

  3. #3
    Your gas valve usually has a pilot adjusting screw where you can regulate the flow just to the pilot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    The pilot adjusting screw is often under a cover screw that must be removed completely before you can see the pilot screw.
    I do not see any pictures? Is this millivolt control?
    New pilot? Never heard of needing one . Do you mean the thermocouple?
    Bill D

  5. #5
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    eastern, ct
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Yes, that's my heater. I wouldn't think i'd need a new pilot either, but i couldn't figure out what else it was. The thermocouple and the solenoid valve worked fine. Maybe i cleaned out some junk in the line as i replaced it and that's why it works now.

    I'll take a pic later and post it. I'm not sure where the pilot adjustment might be. There are a couple large screws on the valve that it might be hidden under. Though i might just try putting the old pilot back in and trying it now to see how that works.

  7. #7
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    Sep 2016
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    In my limited experience the cover screws are about the size of a dime with a big screwdriver slot. Probably right near where the pilot tube comes into the valve body. This all with much older equipment.
    Bill D

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    eastern, ct
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    Left is the pilot on. Just seems too large and yellow/orange instead of blue as it should be. Right is the gas valve on this heater. I'm thinking the top recessed screw is where the pilot adjustment screw is behind. The main burner gas comes out through the silver tube.

    I think i'll double check that the correct LP orifice is in the pilot. Is it common to need gas flow adjustment with a new pilot? Otherwise, i could go back and try the old pilot again and see if that can run blue now.

    20220108_212722.jpg 20220108_212405.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
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    7,239
    My gas company will come out and adjust the flame for free. Those hex ports look to good to just be a cover for a screw. I would look on the bottom of the box. Is the pilot tube the one coming out at the lower right corner?
    Bill D.

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